OKLAHOMA CITY – After three days of fierce competition, the NY Gremlins claimed the 2021 USA Softball Men’s Major Fast Pitch National Championship title with a 7-5 come-from-behind victory over the Hill United Chiefs. Dominating through bracket play, the Gremlins outscored their five opponents 30-9 while posting an undefeated record in route to their sixth Men’s Major Fast Pitch National Championship contest after finishing in second place last year.
To kick off Championship Sunday, the Kegel Black Knights defeated the Circle Tap Dukes 2-1 in a tight game to advance to the semi-finals. The Knights wasted no time in getting on the score board with a single, a walk, and smart baserunning to make it 1-0 in the bottom of the first. Both offenses remained quiet until Circle Tap Dukes got on the board in the fourth inning to tie the game 1-1. The Knights answered back with three singles of their own to plate another run and pull ahead 2-1 in the fifth inning. The score remained 2-1 through the next two innings of play as the Knights pitching staff successfully kept the Dukes off the base paths while combining for a total of 10 strikeouts to seal the victory.
The Kegel Black Knights went on to face the Hill United Chiefs in the semi-final contest but came up short in a 10-3 (five innings) loss. Both teams came out swinging with the Knights scoring two quick runs and the Chiefs using a handful of walks, singles, and a sac fly to plate four runs, putting them ahead 4-2 after one inning of play. The Chiefs extended their lead in the second inning with a RBI single from Steve Mullaley and a three-run home run from Blake Hunter. The Knights tacked on another run in the top of the third, but back-to-back groundouts ended the rally. Mullaley went 2-for-2 on the day with four RBIs as the Chiefs kept their foot on the gas and walked away with a 10-3 run-rule victory to send them to the Championship game.
The final game of the tournament was an exciting matchup between the Hill United Chiefs and the undefeated NY Gremlins. After coming off a 10-run game, the Chiefs stayed hot with three home runs in the first two innings to give them an early 4-0 lead. The Gremlins got on the board in the bottom of the third but a pitching change would bring in Devon McCullough for the Chiefs who forced two pop outs to retire the Gremlins and hold the score 4-1, Chiefs. That lead didn’t hold long though, as a pair of walks and string of hits allowed the Gremlins to tie the game in the bottom of the fourth. Brad Ezekiel broke the tie in the fifth inning with his second home run of the game to put the Chiefs ahead 5-4. It looked as if the Chiefs would come out with the win until Ladislao Malarczuk drove a ball to left field and sped around the bases for a three-run inside-the-park home run to give the Gremlins a 7-5 lead heading into the seventh inning. The Gremlins shut down the Chiefs in the final three outs of the games with Andrew Kirkpatrick fanning his twenty-second batter of the tournament to seal the win and earn the Gremlins the 2021 USA Softball Men’s Major Fast Pitch National Championship title.
Fifteen teams participated in this year’s tournament including AWP Lumberjacks (Anna Schmitt), Bar on the Avenue Buzz (Justin Colombo), Bear Bottom Lodge (Codi Pannebecker), Circle Tap Dukes (Dean Kane), Fishers Softball (Sean King), Hallman Twins (Ron Hackett), Hill United Chiefs (Jeff Ellsworth), Kegel Black Knights (Mike Lewis), Marchio Sausage Co. (Dave Marchio), Midland Explorers (David Lach), NY Gremlins (Gregg Leather), OMMA Tigres (Juan Medrano), Ray Rays Sports Bar Misfits (Steve Prado), Rio Grande Senators (Dave Parker), and San Antonio Glowworm (David Rios).
The Men’s Major Fast Pitch National Championship dates back to 1933 when USA Softball, known then as the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America, was founded during the World's Fair in Chicago, Ill. Since then, the top men’s fast pitch players in the world have continued to take part in the event and grow the game. A full archive of past Men’s Major Fast Pitch National Champions can be found here.
2021 Men's Major Fast Pitch National Championship All-Americans
Ladislao Malarczuk (NY Gremlins) – IF
Blaine Milheim (Kegel Black Knights) – IF
Steve Mullaley (Hill United Chiefs) – IF
Erick Ochoa (NY Gremlins) – IF
Yusef Davis (San Antonio Glowworm) – OF
Alan Parker (Kegel Black Knights) – OF
Kristopher Waluska (San Antonio Glowworm) – OF
Andrew Kirkpatrick (NY Gremlins) – P
Pablo Migilavacca (Hills United Chiefs) – P
Rob Schweyer (Kegel Black Knights – P
Bruno Motroni (Hills United Chiefs) – C
Shea Bryant (Kegel Black Knights) – UTL
Jerome Raemaki (NY Gremlins) – UTL
Matthew Roy (NY Gremlins) – UTL
Men's Major FP National Championship MVP: Ladislao Malarczuk (NY Gremlins)
Men's Major FP National Championship Batting Champion: Ladislao Malarczuk (NY Gremlins) - 0.769
Men's Major FP National Championship HR Champion: Shea Bryant (Kegel Black Knights) / Brad Ezekiel (Hill United Chiefs)